The rumours suggested MediaTek and Qualcomm are looking for cheaper 28nm alternatives, namely from UMC, SMIC and GlobalFoundries.
Now it seems UMC is opening up the champers, but it's not alone.
Cheap chips for China
According to DigiTimes, UMC’s 28nm node has reached mature yield rates, and has attracted orders from Qualcomm and MediaTek. Since these are practically the two biggest smartphone SoC makers today, this is obviously great news for UMC – not so great for TSMC though.
Qualcomm and MediaTek are apparently trying to get the best bang for their foundry buck, as they are racing to the bottom in the Chinese smartphone market. The vast market is dominated by 28nm parts, mostly quad- and octa-core Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A53 parts.
Since smartphone ASPs in China are relatively low, every penny counts and cheaper chips get more design wins.
SMIC and HLMC are being tapped too
UMC is not the only foundry benefiting from Qualcomm’s and MediaTek’s newfound love of cheap silicon.
GlobalFoundries, HLMC and SMIC have also secured orders for 28nm basedband parts and low- to mid-range 28nm application processors.
Some smaller players are also moving away from TSMC. Nvidia is said to be taking its business to Samsung, at least as far as Tegra parts go. However, this is not something we can confirm at this point.